If you have a website, you need to be leveraging the powerful data available in Google Analytics. This tool is completely free and very easy to add to your website. Your site DOES need to be self-hosted, though. This won’t work with wordpress.COM, only wordpress.ORG sites.
You can use any google email address to set up an analytics account… a free gmail account or google business suite… Start by going to analytics.google.com, logging in with you email, and following the steps to add your website or blog (sorry I don’t have screenshots for this… it’s been a while since I signed up). Once you have a tracking code, the fun part begins!!
Adding a tracking code to your website
I LOVE this plugin for wordpress: Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
This is one of the first plugins I install when starting a new site. Once installed, just fill in the analytics code and it will start tracking your page views! Google Analytics can’t show past data, so it will take 24 hours to see stats. That’s why it’s important to add to your site ASAP.
GADWP shows an overview of your stats right on your admin dashboard, so you don’t need to log into analytics.google.com every day. You can also choose to display your views over the past 30 days, 7 days, yesterday, real-time. I usually have it set to view “Sessions,” but it will also show referrers and most visited pages within the dashboard.
If you don’t want these features….. you can also just put the tracking code in your header, which is usually found in your theme settings. These are different on every site, so I can’t show you a screenshot of exactly where they’re located :/
Filter your own views
This is pretty important: you need to filter out your own page views. When I switched over from wordpress.com (jetpack filters out your views when you’re logged in), I was pretty excited about my page views… until I realized it was just me. So adding this filter is a pretty good idea right from the beginning. That way, you have a good picture of your actual visitors.
- In the left sidebar, navigate to “Admin”
- In the first column “Account” ….
- Click “Filters” (ok, this is a little self-explanatory so far… it gets interesting soon)
- Click the Add Filter button….
- I usually name it my address or something like “DW Home”
- Change these settings:
- Filter Type: Predefined
- traffic from the IP addresses
- that are equal to
- enter your IP address (If you don’t know it, you can google “my IP address” and it will tell you)
- then highlight “All Website Data” from the left box, click the “Add” button
- Click Save!
It should automatically add to the current site, but check in your “property settings” and “all website data” columns for the other “filters” option to make sure it’s there…
If not, click “Add Filter” and choose “Apply Existing Filter” then choose yours from the list.
I think we all want to know where our page views come from: did that pin finally go viral? did anyone read that post on facebook? is instagram actually bringing in leads?
First of all, you’ll want a few days of data to review… you probably won’t have much info the first day, because you can’t see any sessions from the past.
Google is super user-friendly, so this is not too hard:
- “Acquisition” from the left column
- “All Traffic”
- “Referrals” for your top referrals!
Other good stats to know…
Google Analytics is a super powerful tool, so I just want to share a few useful things I check all the time 🙂
- Top Pages Viewed for a set time period
Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
Sometimes with blogging, this can be a little depressing. Two of my top-viewed posts on my sewing blog have nothing to do with sewing…
- Geographical Location of your readers (especially helpful if you’re a local business and want to know where to find your clients!)
Audience > Geo > Location
- Real-Time: If you have a very active site, you can see what pages your visitors are looking at right now. So cool, and I hear it’s pretty addicting
Ok, that’s it for today! Go add google analytics to your account and learn more about your market! Also, if you’re a blogger looking to monetize, companies will require your stats before sponsoring you…. so it’s important to get this figured out 🙂